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Eating a low-carb diet can certainly help you lose weight sooner but it could also leave you fuzzy headed and forgetful.

Researchers from the Tufts University assigned one group of patients to a weight loss diet that severely restricted carbohydrate intake and another to a low calorie, high-carbohydrate diet. One week after starting the study, the participants from the low-carb study performed significantly worse on memory tests than participants who followed a low calorie, high-carbohydrate diet.

To prove the theory and the first evidence, the participants from the low-carb group were slowly introduced to some carbohydrates and a few weeks after, their memory-test performances improved.

Most people are not aware of the foods’ impact on our cognitive functioning. This study shows that the impact is immediate.

Carbohydrates Act As Brain Fuel

Carbohydrates are turned into glucose to be used to fuel the brain activity. Proteins, on the other hand, break down into glycogen, which can also be used for fueling the brain, however not as efficiently as glucose.

Scientists have known that theoretically, eliminating carbohydrates from the diet might reduce the brain's source of energy and affect brain functioning but now they have a practical proof.

Although the study only tracked dieting participants for three weeks, the data suggest that diets can affect more than just weight. Glucose-deprived brains means energy-deprived brains meaning negative effects on learning, memory, and thinking.

A Call For More Studies

Australian research scientist Grant D. Brinkworth is not persuaded that low-carbohydrate weight loss diets affect memory.

He himself, along with some other colleagues, did some cognitive function testing on dieters too. His groups were also divided into a low-carb or high-carb weight-loss diet groups but the study lasted eight weeks.
His study results showed that both groups lost weight and showed improvements in mood.

The low-carbohydrate dieters did show slight impairments in cognitive processing speed, but there was no difference between the two groups in working memory. He believes that eliminating carbs from the nutrition may affect memory but only short-term.

He believes that the Tufts University researchers recorded an acute, transient effect that may just be the body readjusting to an unfamiliar diet. He calls for more studies to examine the long-term impact of these diets on cognitive functioning.


This article brings forth opposing arguments concerning the impact on memory of low carb weight-loss diet. Preliminary results do suggest that extreme dieting can indeed be bad for your health regardless of whether the loss in cognitive function is short-term or long-term. The importance of a balanced diet in maintaining health and well-beings even among dieters cannot be overemphasized.